Garlic is an herb and spice commonly found in our kitchen and known to have many benefits and used for many conditions related to the heart and blood pressure. But to get the most benefits, researchers say it is most effective when eaten raw.
Garlic is grown around the world. It is related to onion, leeks, and chives. It is thought that garlic is native to Siberia, but spread to other parts of the world over 5000 years ago.
Garlic is used for many conditions including high blood pressure, low blood pressure, high cholesterol, inherited high cholesterol, coronary heart disease, heart attack, reduced blood flow due to narrowed arteries, and “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis).
Why it is better to eat garlic raw? The active compound allicin only forms when garlic is crushed or cleaved when it is raw. If you cook it before crushing it, then it won’t have the same health effects.
Therefore, the best way to consume garlic is raw, or to crush and cut it and leave it out for a while before you add it to your recipes.
Allicins can help protect against cancer and heart disease.
Unfortunately, cooking garlic destroys the garlic’s ability to make allicin and makes cooked garlic generally not as beneficial as raw.
Allicin also has antibacterial, antivirus, antifungal, and antioxidant properties, and are very good for keeping your body healthy. Eat one or two crushed garlic cloves every morning to help heart healthy and stop heart disease.
It was also found that it is better to take garlic in an empty stomach because those who did, reported that their symptoms of hypertension were relieved. It not only regulates blood circulation but also prevents various heart problems and stimulates the proper function of the liver and bladder.
Garlic is also efficient in treating stomach problems such as diarrhea while some people claim that it is an amazing remedy for nerve problems but only if it’s eaten raw.
PROVEN HEALTH BENEFITS OF GARLIC
- Garlic Contains a Compound Called Allicin, Which Has Potent Medicinal Properties – Garlic is a plant in the onion family, grown for its cooking properties and health effects. It is high in sulfur compound called Allicin, which is believed to bring most of the health benefits.
- Garlic Is Highly Nutritious, But Has Very Few Calories – Garlic is low in calories and very ric in Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Manganese. It also contains trace amounts of various other nutrients.
- Garlic Can Combat Sickness, Including the Common Cold – Garlic supplementation helps to prevent and reduce the severity of common illnesses and common cold. Garlic supplementation is known to boost the function of the immune system. One large 12-week study found that a daily garlic supplement reduced the number of colds by 63% compared with placebo. The average length of cold symptoms was also reduced by 70%, from 5 days in placebo to just 1.5 days in the garlic group.
- The Active Compounds in Garlic Can Reduce Blood Pressure – Cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes are the world’s biggest killers. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the most important drivers of these diseases. High doses of garlic appear to improve blood pressure of those with known high blood pressure (hypertension). In some instances, supplementation can be as effective as regular medications.
- Garlic Improves Cholesterol Levels, Which May Lower the Risk of Heart Disease – Garlic can lower total LDL cholesterol. For those with high cholesterol, garlic supplementation appears to reduce total and/or LDL cholesterol by about 10-15%. Looking at LDL (the “bad”) and HDL (the “good”) cholesterol specifically, garlic appears to lower LDL but has no reliable effect on HDL. Garlic does not appear to lower triglyceride levels, another known risk factor for heart disease.
- Garlic Contains Antioxidants That May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia – Garlic contains antioxidants that protect against cell damage and aging. It may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
- Garlic May Help You Live Longer – Garlic has known beneficial effects on common causes of chronic disease, so it makes perfect sense that it could help one live longer.
- Athletic Performance Can Be Improved With Garlic Supplementation – Garlic can improve physical performance in lab animals and people with heart disease. Benefits in healthy animals and people with heart disease. Benefits in healthy people are not yet conclusive.
- Eating Garlic Can Help Detoxify Heavy Metals in the Body – At high doses, the sulfur compounds in garlic have been shown to protect against organ damage from heavy metal toxicity. Garlic was shown to significantly reduce lead toxicity and related symptoms in one study.
- Garlic May Improve Bone Health – Garlic appears to have some benefits for bone health by increasing estrogen levels in females, but more human studies are needed.
- Garlic Is Easy to Include in Your Diet and Tastes Absolutely Delicious – The last one is not a health benefit, but still important. It is the fact that it is very easy (and delicious) to include garlic in your current diet. It complements most savory dishes, particularly soups and sauces. The strong taste of garlic can also add a punch to otherwise bland recipes. Garlic comes in several forms, from whole cloves and smooth pastes to powders and supplements like garlic extract and garlic oil. The minimum effective dose for therapeutic effects is one clove eaten with meals, two or three times a day. However, keep in mind that there are some downsides to garlic, such as bad breath. There are also some people who are allergic to it. If you have a bleeding disorder or are taking blood thinning medications, then talk to your doctor before increasing your garlic consumption.
GARLIC SIDE EFFECTS
- Redness, swelling, or blistering (when applied to the skin); or
- Easy bruising or bleeding (nosebleeds, bleeding gums).
Common side effects (especially when eating raw garlic) may include:
- Unpleasant breath or body odor
- Heartburn, burning in your mouth or throat
- Nausea, vomiting, gas or diarrhea
Creamy Parmesan Garlic Mushroom Chicken
- ¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 pound thinly-sliced boneless chicken breast (4 pcs)
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts, 1 lb.
- ½ teaspoon salt, divided
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 8 ounces white or cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, quartered
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Place ¼ cup flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle chicken with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Coat chicken in the flour, shaking off the excess. Discard any leftover flour.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, turning once, until golden brown and cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate; cover to keep warm.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. Reduce heat to medium and add mushrooms and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are beginning to brown and soften, 4 to 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds more. Sprinkle the remaining 2 teaspoons flour over the mushrooms and stir to coat. Add wine and cook, stirring, until thickened and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 1 minute. Add half-and-half and cook, stirring, until the sauce is bubbling and thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and top with Parmesan and parsley.
Green Beans with Creamy Garlic Dressing
- 1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
- 1 small clove garlic, minced, or ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup non-fat plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, (optional)
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Place a medium bowl of ice water near the stove. Bring an inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer basket. Add green beans, cover and cook until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the beans to the ice water to cool. Remove from the ice water with a slotted spoon and let drain on a kitchen towel; blot dry with another towel.
- If using fresh garlic, mash with salt using the back of a spoon until a paste forms. Whisk the garlic paste (or garlic powder and salt) with yogurt, oil, parsley (if using) and pepper in a large bowl. Add the green beans and toss to coat. Serve cold.
Garlic Shrimp with Cilantro Spaghetti Squash
- 2 1/2-3-pound spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt, divided
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/3 cup dry white wine such as pinot grigio
- 1 pound peeled and deveined raw shrimp (16-20 per pound), tails left on if desired
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- Lemon wedges for serving
- Place squash cut-side down in a microwave-safe dish; add 2 tablespoons water. Microwave, uncovered, on High until the flesh is tender, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, place squash halves cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in a 400°F oven until the squash is tender, 40 to 50 minutes.)
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, coriander, cumin, ¼ teaspoon salt and cayenne; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add wine and bring to a simmer. Add shrimp and cook, stirring, until the shrimp are pink and just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.
- Use a fork to scrape the squash from the shells into a medium bowl. Add cilantro, butter, pepper and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt; stir to combine. Serve the shrimp over the spaghetti squash with a lemon wedge on the side.
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